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$245 million for Chaplains

By 19 May 2014 46

JohnHargreaves-a

In a Back to the Future Vaticano style, the PM has whispered in a new attempt to force religion into our schools. No-one cares if the private educational systems have chaplains to administer to their flocks. It has been the case since the year dot and will always be the case. But the push into the public school system, rejected the last time it was proposed, is another thing altogether. And if it is at the expense of the school counsellor system then it is a very dangerous thing to embrace.

Chaplains are not counsellors. They are clerics who propound their faiths and counsel along the religious doctrines of those faiths. They find solutions to problems presented to them within their “holy” books. Fine if that’s the way you want your goose cooked but not for me.

Chaplains do a fine job within religious parishes and schools, hospices and the like. But do they replace the qualified and experienced school counsellors? No they don’t.

Are they trained and qualified to speak to students about personal image issues, the challenge of sexual awareness, difficulties with parents or siblings, alcoholism or drug abuse? I think maybe not. The most dangerous thing in the world is guidance delivered by well-meaning amateurs. Let Chaplains do what they do best, interface between the faithful and their deity. Leave social wellness to the experts.

Tony Abbot is pushing his religiosity too far. Some questions for the president of the George Pell fan club. What if a school doesn’t want a chaplain? No money? Will a school be able to have both chaplains and counsellors? Will all faiths be catered for in all schools and how? Where are you going to get Buddhist or Hindu counsellors? Will each school have multiple chaplains catering for a multitude of faiths? Will the federal government dictate which religions can have chaplains operating in the public system and what it is that they provide?

$245 million is a lot of money for a system no one asked for and most people reject. How about Mr Abbott gives this loony idea away and gives the $245 million to assist struggling families suffering from his onslaught onto their basic quality of life?

John Hargreaves
Former ACT Minister and MLA

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46 Responses to $245 million for Chaplains
#1
Affirmative Action M5:03 pm, 19 May 14

I have generally disliked John Hargreaves as he comes across as a bully boy & seems wedded to the quasi Marxist dogma which went out of date in the 60′s however I have to agree with him on this – the whole chaplain exercise was a ridiculous waste of $$. If they want to hand it out let schools (through the parents) decide if they want a counsellor, part time psychologist or chaplain.

#2
ticktock25:29 pm, 19 May 14

I agree that $245m is a waste of my/our hard earned taxpayer money. I protested strongly to the Catholic Church…err sorry Prime Minister and cohorts about spending our money on superstitious nonsense. I don’t expect a reply…in the meantime let’s make it harder for older Australians, indigenous people and our veterans by promoting waffle and waste with a $245m price tag. Religion is a private matter and not the realm of the secular (?) state. But then again, what do you expect from a former Catholic priest and his religious twerps now running the country? Not a whole lot in this case.

#3
Aneillius5:44 pm, 19 May 14

I seriously have a problem with paying organized religion to provide chaplains. I’m sure the tax rebates they receive as non profits would amount to we’ll more than $245 million.

#4
Maya1236:10 pm, 19 May 14

I have to agree with the comments so far. Chaplains don’t have a place in government schools. The money should be spent on qualified councillors.

#5
Masquara6:31 pm, 19 May 14

Very dishonest and disingenuous post. “New” attempt to “force” religion into our schools? Hardly. Labor kept on and on funding the chaplain program. Why ? Purely because there’s a strong Christian lobby, and both sides of parliament are somewhat beholden to it. So, Hargreaves, if it’s a loony idea it’s Labor’s loony idea too.

#6
Az6:42 pm, 19 May 14

Chaplains are DANGEROUS.

Letting skydad worshipers advise kids in trouble is a recipe for disaster.

#7
Mysteryman7:06 pm, 19 May 14

Hey John, perhaps you could enlighten us on how much the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd governments spent on chaplains during their six years at the top? You’re trying to make this sound like Tony Abbott is doing something new here. He’s not. Chaplaincy programs have been government funded for a LONG time. This isn’t a new program, and it’s not a Liberal initiative. Stop being deceptive.

Secondly, “$245 million is a lot of money for a system no one asked for”. I categorically refute this. There are a lot of public schools that have requested and made very good use of chaplains. Generally speaking, the chaplains are there to offer guidance, basic counseling, dispute resolution, and other similar services. Their services are sought out by teachers/students, and not forced on anybody in the way the rioters above me are trying to insinuate. This is not an issue of the government funding religions. It’s about the government funding schools to pay for a service they utilise and need. Churches are often the only ones willing and able to provide the service, or even have an interest in doing so. And, quite frankly, the remuneration is not great.

Perhaps you ought to familiarise yourself with how the chaplaincy program works before screaming “religion religion!”.

#8
justsomeaussie7:29 pm, 19 May 14

Can a question on this please be raised on Q&A tonight? Why is our government sanctioning religious influence in public schools.

Not that long ago the fundamentalists were up in arms as this same program was used by Imams to talk about Islam in schools. It’s either secular, correctly training counsellors or not at all.

#9
thislittlepiggy8:34 pm, 19 May 14

What John Hargreaves was alluding to but failed to mention was that under Labor, the schools chaplaincy also included secular chaplains (humanists etc). This provision has been removed by Abbott. I’m not sure John was even aware of this program before this government, I’m not sure many have.

It should also be noted that this program has already been found unconstitutional by the high court, and was recently taken to the high court again. This is the federal government thumbing their noses at the high court.

For more information, I suggest you checkout http://thatsmyphilosophy.wordpress.com/, she’s blogged in detail the changes to the Schools Chaplaincy Program, as well as the high court challenges.

#10
thislittlepiggy8:38 pm, 19 May 14

I probably should also list http://highcourtchallenge.com, anybody who cares about this should donate to the challenge, even after it’s over. It shows support for the cause, and besides, even though the first court case was in 2010, Ron still hasn’t been paid costs yet.

#11
Johno8:42 pm, 19 May 14

Thanks for the support for the notion of separation of church and state, something Mr Abbott doesn’t support. And thanks to the Liberal apologists for outing themselves.

I have served on two public school boards,was educated in the main by the Marist Brothers. I reckon I am a bit more qualified to seek a reversal of this propaganda from that right wing Catholic zealot who wants to take away our choice for education for our kids.

This is the first real indication that he has an agenda for schooling. I wondered why he wanted to emasculate public schooling by killing Gonski. Now I know.

#12
Affirmative Action M10:36 am, 20 May 14

You can see why most people have contempt for politicians. Johno how about you answer the question that has been put by several posters as to why the Rudd & Gillard Governments continued the scheme ?

#13
John Hargreaves Ex M4:37 pm, 20 May 14

Affirmative Action Man said :

You can see why most people have contempt for politicians. Johno how about you answer the question that has been put by several posters as to why the Rudd & Gillard Governments continued the scheme ?

Firstly let me apologise for using my personal login “Johno” earlier. I am new to this technology. But to answer your question, let me say that it was dopey then and it is dopey now. The public saw how dopey it was then and said so. I just hope they do so again. And I’m sick of hearing that cos Labor did it, it is ok for the Libs to do it. Rubbish. People voted for the Libs for whatever reason they had not because they would do what Labor proposed. they must own their own mistakes and untruths.

If I want religion in my grandkids heads, I will rely on their parents, not an Abbott, a Bishop nor a Pope.

#14
justin heywood5:38 pm, 20 May 14

Johno said :

…and thanks to the Liberal apologists for outing themselves.

Gee John, I didn’t know you could be ‘outed’ as a Liberal. Perhaps in your narrow world being a liberal equates to being gay or having some terrible disease, but I think you’ll find that there’s more than a few around.*

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

And I’m sick of hearing that cos Labor did it, it is ok for the Libs to do it. Rubbish. People voted for the Libs for whatever reason they had not because they would do what Labor proposed. they must own their own mistakes and untruths.

If I want religion in my grandkids heads, I will rely on their parents, not an Abbott, a Bishop nor a Pope.

You may be sick of hearing about it John, but it’s a fair question. Where were you when it was Labor policy? The whole post smacks of confected anger and cynical populism. Abbott is on the nose at the moment, and up you pop out of nowhere, suddenly the champion of the separation of powers. I don’t buy it.

*FWIW, I am an extremely lapsed Catholic and dedicated non-believer. I’m no fan of Abbott, but view the alternatives as even worse.

#15
Masquara5:50 pm, 20 May 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

If I want religion in my grandkids heads, I will rely on their parents, not an Abbott, a Bishop nor a Pope.

It isn’t compulsory for children to attend the chaplaincy program, is it?

#16
John Hargreaves Ex M9:04 pm, 20 May 14

justin heywood said :

Johno said :

…and thanks to the Liberal apologists for outing themselves.

Gee John, I didn’t know you could be ‘outed’ as a Liberal. Perhaps in your narrow world being a liberal equates to being gay or having some terrible disease, but I think you’ll find that there’s more than a few around.*

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

And I’m sick of hearing that cos Labor did it, it is ok for the Libs to do it. Rubbish. People voted for the Libs for whatever reason they had not because they would do what Labor proposed. they must own their own mistakes and untruths.

If I want religion in my grandkids heads, I will rely on their parents, not an Abbott, a Bishop nor a Pope.

You may be sick of hearing about it John, but it’s a fair question. Where were you when it was Labor policy? The whole post smacks of confected anger and cynical populism. Abbott is on the nose at the moment, and up you pop out of nowhere, suddenly the champion of the separation of powers. I don’t buy it.

*FWIW, I am an extremely lapsed Catholic and dedicated non-believer. I’m no fan of Abbott, but view the alternatives as even worse.

In answer to where was I when it was Labor policy, I was an MLA speaking publicly against it. I have been a vocal supporter of the separation of church and state for 40 years. I have also been a supporter of the doctrine of the separation of the powers (something entirely different) between the Executive, the Parliament and the Judiciary.

Call me old fashioned if you like but I like to dream that the churches will keep their influences out of politics.

The choice of a kid to avoid a course of instruction is a bit like the choices of low paid workers in WorkChoices…

#17
scorpio639:31 pm, 20 May 14

A Chaplain represents Jesus Christ our Saviour/God/The Holy Spirit – God is not a ‘religion’ firstly John, contrary to what anti-religious zealots and crusaders choose to believe.

The Salvation Army whom provide Chaplains and a Chaplaincy service throughout Australia and of course the A.C.T. are nothing short of brilliant in providing wonderful support to Families, Schools, Prisons and people living in desperate need of assistance within our Communities.

…all through God.

The Salvos Chaplains are not out to push religion onto people during Counselling.

You need to address your religious fears and heal your heart John from any religious related Childhood or Adult negative experiences in order for yourself to move forward – and hopefully for your own soul good towards Jesus/God.

By dwelling on religion and thinking of Religion in relation to your Grandchildren – the opposite of your own wishes will come about.

ie your Fears will manifest into reality and your Children will be a part of a religious group or denomination. Just pray that when this occurs it is Christianity John before Jesus does indeed appear here on Earth soon. Reference: Jesus’ Holy Messages and our Lady Mary Mother of God’s Holy Messages speaking to my Heart as of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

If I want religion in my grandkids heads, I will rely on their parents, not an Abbott, a Bishop nor a Pope.

#18
Az11:19 pm, 20 May 14

scorpio63 said :

A Chaplain represents Jesus Christ our Saviour/God/The Holy Spirit – God is not a ‘religion’ firstly John, contrary to what anti-religious zealots and crusaders choose to believe.

The Salvation Army whom provide Chaplains and a Chaplaincy service throughout Australia and of course the A.C.T. are nothing short of brilliant in providing wonderful support to Families, Schools, Prisons and people living in desperate need of assistance within our Communities.

…all through God.

The Salvos Chaplains are not out to push religion onto people during Counselling.

You need to address your religious fears and heal your heart John from any religious related Childhood or Adult negative experiences in order for yourself to move forward – and hopefully for your own soul good towards Jesus/God.

By dwelling on religion and thinking of Religion in relation to your Grandchildren – the opposite of your own wishes will come about.

ie your Fears will manifest into reality and your Children will be a part of a religious group or denomination. Just pray that when this occurs it is Christianity John before Jesus does indeed appear here on Earth soon. Reference: Jesus’ Holy Messages and our Lady Mary Mother of God’s Holy Messages speaking to my Heart as of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

If I want religion in my grandkids heads, I will rely on their parents, not an Abbott, a Bishop nor a Pope.

It’s like astroturfing your own straw-man. (Promise I didn’t.)

Prosecution rests.

#19
gooterz12:24 am, 21 May 14

Will an untrained Chaplain spot problems that councillors are trained to spot?
Who will a Chaplain refer a student to for support? God or a trained councillor?

If a student is being abused by others will the Chaplain provide means of support and refer to the relevant government department or just ask the kid to pray for their safety?

Will a student be refused support if they state they are an atheist?

None of these issues occur with properly trained and accredited councillors.

Do chaplains have the same privacy as a councillor?

#20
watto2312:40 pm, 21 May 14

Affirmative Action Man said :

You can see why most people have contempt for politicians. Johno how about you answer the question that has been put by several posters as to why the Rudd & Gillard Governments continued the scheme ?

Didn’t Labour give schools the option of having a non faith based person fulfilling the role of a chaplain. Which in my books is perfectly ok. Apparently though Liberal are cutting the non faith based option out.

So either have all or none. I bet there would be outrage if they hired a few people of islamic or other faith rather than catholic faith….

#21
scorpio6312:09 am, 24 May 14

Will a student be refused support if they state they are an atheist? (Gooterz)

Many schools that are private take in people who do not have faith in God nor believe in anything (ie Children from families that are atheist) are accepted into private schools – the majority of Catholic schools both primary and secondary are educating Children of non-faith/belief in God.

For the record another poster made a comment in relation to Catholics kicking up about the situation of a Chaplain being Muslim. There are Counsellors and Chaplains already in place whom are of all denominations and beliefs counselling and chaplaining our Australian school Children.

By the way, there are many Teachers of non-faith teaching and whom have taught in Catholic and other private Schools throughout Australia.

Catholic school Children are taught about other religions within the school curriculum Faith based subject of religion which includes Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and religious studies of other cultures.

A girlfriend of mine recently placed her 13 year old Daughter in a Catholic Secondary School; she is an atheist.

All the best on your ‘soul’ journeys.

#22
magiccar98:17 am, 24 May 14

I really disagree to this post. At present this site is being used by the Labor party to slag-off their opposition (see recent posts from Barr and Rattenbury re: budget).

This post in particular is basically just Hargreaves spouting his Abbott-hating, non-religious beliefs in the attempt that he hopes someone agrees with him to feel all warm and fuzzy. Honestly John, you should really think carefully about your next post here.

FWIW – I have no religious or political following. I’m neutral on the topic of Chaplains in schools, and believe that if someone wants to utilise the service they will. Those who don’t want it, simply don’t use it.

#23
Maya1237:02 pm, 24 May 14

magiccar9 said :

I really disagree to this post. At present this site is being used by the Labor party to slag-off their opposition (see recent posts from Barr and Rattenbury re: budget).

This post in particular is basically just Hargreaves spouting his Abbott-hating, non-religious beliefs in the attempt that he hopes someone agrees with him to feel all warm and fuzzy. Honestly John, you should really think carefully about your next post here.

FWIW – I have no religious or political following. I’m neutral on the topic of Chaplains in schools, and believe that if someone wants to utilise the service they will. Those who don’t want it, simply don’t use it.

The topic of chaplains in schools is not neutral though, because if a school wants councillors for the students it now has to be a chaplain; it can’t be a religious neutral person. And we are all paying for this biased service. Also the present non-religious councillors are going to be sacked, and then out of work. All this for the Abbot government to press their definitely not neutral agenda.

#24
Deref3:20 pm, 25 May 14

An absolute disgrace. The purpose of schools is education, not brainwashing.

#25
milkman5:45 pm, 25 May 14

A lot of assumptions in this thread. It will probably offend people, but most chaplains are actually there to provide counselling and guidance, and not to ram religion down anyone’s throat.

Whether they should be paid for by tax dollars is, of course, another matter.

#26
gooterz8:52 pm, 25 May 14

milkman said :

A lot of assumptions in this thread. It will probably offend people, but most chaplains are actually there to provide counselling and guidance, and not to ram religion down anyone’s throat.

So what qualifications do they need? A councillor is trained in counselling and guidance, a religious chaplains are trained in brainwashing. So we’re getting chaplains to do replace councillors to not teach religion but teach something they aren’t trained in?

I hope the high court challenge for this gets up and saves us some $$$$. Otherwise next thing you know all the school holidays will be based on Christian faith.

#27
gazket9:11 pm, 25 May 14

$245 million is a lot of money for a system no one asked for and most people reject

same thing could be said about Canberra light rail but not a word spoken by Mr John Hargreaves
Former ACT Minister and MLA .
$600 million + is a lot of money for a system no one asked for and most people reject

#28
rhino1:30 pm, 18 Jun 14

Not trained? Merely find all answers to all problems by reference to the bible?

I’m not so sure that that is accurate. If it was, it’d certainly be a strong point.

What if they are also trained counselors and are modern in terms of not being a bible bashers and respectful of other views, as would be expected of anyone in that position in our society today? And if they accept far less pay to provide this equally qualified service? Therefore more student welfare issues are resolved on the whole for the spend.

I’d accept the point that letting the schools choose between one or the other is probably preferable, but the idea that these chaplains would be a net negative rather than a positive is something I don’t accept. That and that they are untrained…that doesn’t seem to be the case from my experience.

#29
rhino1:33 pm, 18 Jun 14

Maya123 said :

magiccar9 said :

I really disagree to this post. At present this site is being used by the Labor party to slag-off their opposition (see recent posts from Barr and Rattenbury re: budget).

This post in particular is basically just Hargreaves spouting his Abbott-hating, non-religious beliefs in the attempt that he hopes someone agrees with him to feel all warm and fuzzy. Honestly John, you should really think carefully about your next post here.

FWIW – I have no religious or political following. I’m neutral on the topic of Chaplains in schools, and believe that if someone wants to utilise the service they will. Those who don’t want it, simply don’t use it.

The topic of chaplains in schools is not neutral though, because if a school wants councillors for the students it now has to be a chaplain; it can’t be a religious neutral person. And we are all paying for this biased service. Also the present non-religious councillors are going to be sacked, and then out of work. All this for the Abbot government to press their definitely not neutral agenda.

Where are you getting this? You’re clearly allowed to retain your current counselors or employ new ones at your own desire. This is an additional pool of money made available for people who request a Chaplain for their school. Nobody is forcing the schools to take chaplains.

#30
rhino1:40 pm, 18 Jun 14

magiccar9 said :

I really disagree to this post. At present this site is being used by the Labor party to slag-off their opposition (see recent posts from Barr and Rattenbury re: budget).

This post in particular is basically just Hargreaves spouting his Abbott-hating, non-religious beliefs in the attempt that he hopes someone agrees with him to feel all warm and fuzzy. Honestly John, you should really think carefully about your next post here.

FWIW – I have no religious or political following. I’m neutral on the topic of Chaplains in schools, and believe that if someone wants to utilise the service they will. Those who don’t want it, simply don’t use it.

Very strong points here. If no schools want chaplains, this money goes unspent. Where is the “forcing” there?

And on what information is this statement made that they are unqualified bible bashers? Anything to back that up or is that basically just slander against the numerous fully qualified and reasonable people in that occupation? Everyone has a bias on religious issues. Being an atheist is equally a position that someone could try to push on others. Handling your own bias in a professional manner is something that is an individual professionalism thing. A counselor could do this badly potentially. Just because you can imagine some bible bashing scenario doesn’t mean that that is reality.

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